Chick lit

Summer by the sea – Jenny Hale

Summer by the seaTitle: Summer by the sea
Author: Jenny Hale
Publisher: Bookouture
Format: Kindle
Pages: 286
My rating★★★★★

When I heard that there was a new book available from Jenny Hale I just had to pre-order it. Last week we were in the middle of a heatwave and I decided that was a good moment to read a book called Summer by the sea. Since I am not going anywhere with my pregnant belly, I could at least read about the sea.

What the book is about

They say there’s always one summer that changes you.

For Faith the one summer she can’t forget is when she fell in love as a teenager – only for her sister, Casey, to steal her man. Now, at the request of her beloved ninety-year-old Grandmother, Faith has agreed to a family holiday – at their childhood beach house, where it all began.

Faith hasn’t seen her sister in years but is finally ready to forgive and forget, enjoy the sunshine and relive happy memories. What she’s not ready for is meeting Jake Buchanan – the owner of the beach house – or the long-forgotten feelings he ignites in her.

Can Faith overcome the hurt of the past, rekindle the close bond she had with Casey and make this summer THE ONE to remember?

What I think about the book

Once again Jenny Hale wrote a wonderful and romantic story with a lovely main character. Faith is definitely not perfect, but she is kind and she loves her family a lot. You can feel that she is anxious to see her sister again after so many years, but that she’s also looking forward to a lovely summer holiday at the beach.

Faith has been through a lot, but she has learnt from the mistakes she has made in the past. Even though the bond with her sister is still a bit of a tough one (and hey, jealousy is kind of a bitch too!) and they have some issues to talk about, Faith can cope much better than before. She is also willing to take some risks for the sake of love. She does get a few tips and some guidance from her old (and wise) grandmother.

Jake Buchanon really is something else. He seems to be the handy man who is working at the cottage they have rented, but there’s more to him. At times he seems very sweet and loving, but the next moment I was wondering if that was the real him or if there was more to it. Of course it all becomes clear throughout the book.

All I can really say is this: If you love romantic novels, Summer by the sea is definitely worth putting on your to read list for this summer.

Return to Bluebell Hill – Rebecca Pugh

Return to Bluebell HillTitle: Return to Bluebell Hill
Author: Rebecca Pugh
Publisher: Carina
Format: Kindle
My rating★★★★★

I have been following Rebecca on Twitter for a while now and she’s such a lovely person. It was fun to see how excited she was about her novel and it really did make me want to read it. I do believe in supporting new authors, especially if they deserve it.

What the book is about

Home is where the heart is…

Jessica McAdams has never belonged anywhere; never truly felt at home. Of course, what did she expect from parents who never made her feel welcome in her own house? Leaving her life in London to return home to the charming country village of Bluebell Hill is harder than she thought. Especially as she never considered she’d be returning under such heart wrenching circumstances…

Clearing out the stunning and imposing Bluebell House after her parents’ death is difficult for Jessica—they never had the best relationship and now it’s too late. Yet spending time in the house that was never a home, having afternoon tea with dear old friend Esme—and sharing hot, sizzling kisses with delectable gardener Rueben!—opens Jessica’s eyes to the potential of Bluebell House… Could this big old, beautiful manor really be her forever home? Is Bluebell Hill where her heart is, has always been?

Jessica soon dares to dream of her very own home with delicious Rueben by her side. But when a deep, dark secret of Bluebell House is unearthed, Jessica’s world is turned upside down…

Will Jessica ever find where her heart truly lies?

What I think about the book

When I started reading this novel, it was really hard to put it away. Jessica is a lovely main character, someone who you’d want to be your friend. So it was easy to get into the story real quickly. It all seems very magical. The wonderful town of Bluebell Hill, a pretty old house and don’t forget that fit gardener named Rueben. You’d think it would be easy for Jessica to decide what to do. She can either sell the house and move back to London where she has her job and best friend Sarah, or stay in this fairytale world with her old nanny Esme and a gorgeous man. Of course things are not that simple, otherwise there’d be no story to tell.

I could type hundreds of words but it comes down to this: I really enjoyed reading Return to Bluebell Hill. It’s fast paced, romantic and just a lovely novel for a hot summer day. A wonderful debut, so I am hoping to read more from Rebecca in the future!

One Perfect Summer – Paige Toon

one perfect summerTitle: One Perfect Summer
Author: Paige Toon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Format: Paperback
Pages: 464
My rating★★★★★

This book is my first paperback for the Paperback Summer challenge. With this speed I am not going to make it until 10 books before the end of August though. It had nothing to do with this book. Not at all, because I loved it. Why haven’t I read any of Paige’s books before? I really enjoyed reading One Perfect Summer and I can’t believe this is only the first novel by Paige Toon that I am reading. It will definitely not be the last.

What the book is about

‘And you still love him?’
‘Every second of every minute of every hour of every day…’

While on holiday in Dorset one summer, Alice meets Joe, a guy working at the local pub. She’s eighteen and on the brink of starting university, while Joe’s life is seemingly going nowhere. But despite their differences, the pair fall hopelessly and desperately in love. And then summer comes to an end and they are dramatically torn apart.

Alice heads off to university in Cambridge where she gets a part-time job punting on the River Cam and slowly picks up the pieces of her broken heart. One day Lukas – a gorgeous golden boy from Cambridge University – spies her and it’s not long before Alice falls for his charms.

Months turns into years, but then Joe comes back into Alice’s life again in a way that she could never have imagined. While Alice lives her ordinary life with Lukas, she has to watch from the sidelines as Joe’s life becomes evermore extraordinary. She never stopped loving him, but he’s out of her reach now, surely? And what about Lukas?

What I think about the book

This book is not your average chick lit and for me that is a good thing. It has way too many emotions inside, both romantic and dark ones, which makes the story very real. It is definitely not a fairy tale and I really liked that about this story.

The book has been divided in several parts. It begins with the perfect summer romance between Alice and Joe. They fall in love, spend lots of time together until the summer ends abruptly with some terrible events and they are separated from each other. I can definitely relate to that in a way. Yes, we have social media these days, but sometimes relationships or friendships end just like that, leaving you confused and alone.

In the second part of the book Alice goes to college and she is slowly picking up the pieces of her life. After a few chapters I had the feeling that I was reading a completely different book, to be honest. It was all happy and cheerful and just a story about a girl that goes to college, makes new friends, finds a job and eventually even falls in love with a wonderful guy. But is Lukas really all that wonderful? I have read in some reviews that readers don’t find him that bad, but in some ways I think he is a bit abusive. No, he doesn’t touch Alice, but the way he is trying to control her life freaked me out a little. Yes, she could have broken up with him, but she’s been scarred and hurt by previous experiences and that may cloud her judgment a bit. So I wasn’t really feeling it with Lukas. Nope, I was on team Joe for sure.

And then Joe comes back. I am not going to spoil that part, but that was quite a plot twist. I mean, I would have expected them to somehow bump in to each other and then either fall back in love or not. That wasn’t the case. All I am going to say is that I could not stop reading when Joe came back into the story and that I just found it all very lovely and romantic. The end could have been a bit longer, it was a little rushed, but that won’t keep me from giving this one 5 stars. One Perfect Summer is a wonderful summer read for sure.

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